Stanford University sets up $100 mn green energy centre

January 14th, 2009 - 11:37 am ICT by IANS  

San Francisco, Jan 14 (DPA) Stanford University is launching a $100 million energy institute to fund research into batteries, solar cells and other aspects of green energy.The California university has spawned technologies that led to the formation of companies like Hewlett Packard and Google, and the new institute is expected to boost the ability of Silicon Valley to become a world leader in green energy. The tech region already boast a $500-million energy institute at the University of California
at Berkeley.

“The biggest renewable resource is the sun,” said Lynn Orr, who will direct the new institute, which was officially launched Monday night.

“But we need to lower the cost of converting sunlight into electricity and supplying it through a much improved electric grid. The new centre will allow us to expand significantly our effort to develop new nanostructured materials for solar energy and energy storage and to work on the host of social, market and policy issues involved in the needed transition to energy systems with significant fractions of renewables.”

Venture capitalist John Doerr, who launched companies like Apple, Sun and Google, said the institute would help turn Silicon Valley into Solar Valley. Already there were 200 start-ups in the region concentrating on solar energy, he said.

“Batteries are the holy grail of renewable energy and the US isn’t even in the battery race,” said Doerr. “We are not doing enough research,” he said. “The Internet is a trillion-dollar economy and energy is a $6-trillion economy - it could be the largest economic opportunity of the 21st century.”

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